On Suffering

reply to “RamblingMan” by Jack @ Sigma Frame

The Manosphere is Feminine

If the manosphere could be summarized in one long sentence it would be this:

Suffering men—mostly divorcees and married and unmarried incels—who have been burnt by women assemble together to talk—and complain—about how naturally evil and essentially broken women are and how they need men to teach and fix them, to end men’s suffering.

Would you describe it differently?

In theory[1], the manosphere is designed to help men, but in its focus on the faults of women and fixing them, it just turns into a big female-coded therapy session and safe-space for men.[2] As Jason routinely notes in the comment section here, this rarely works for any man who a priori lacks the necessary attributes to have already been successful with women. But complaining and emoting sure feels effective!

As I noted in “Talking About Old Women,” the Bible spends very little time singling out women and their behavior. Before Bruce Charlton commented at Sigma Frame—where he called the blog positivistic and anti-Christian—, he had previously noted that the manosphere and manospherian principles are effeminate and un-masculine.

In the weird online world, the masculine reaction against feminism and feminization, has often taken the form of men analyzing what women do (in order, supposedly, for men to be able better to understand and manipulate women). So, men who purport to desire to re-establish patriarchy, are expending their time and efforts in discussing the opposite sex. And yet… this kind of thing is exactly what women do!

William James Tychonievich affirmed this, saying:

There’s an old country song from the eighties that uses “As long as old men sit and talk about the weather / As long as old women sit and talk about old men” to mean “forever.” No one would have dreamt of reversing the genders in that last clause.

In my debates with Sharkly, I noted on a number of occasions that a Christian patriarchy that desires a man to have authority, but relies on women to give it to them, isn’t a patriarchy worth fighting for. A weak patriarchy moans and complains that “man up!”—insisting that men take personal responsibility for the mess—blames men who have no authority[3] to do so. It is, essentially, a deeply feminized form of patriarchy.

A strong patriarchy would require that authority was invariant: originating either inherently in manhood or directly from God and that responsibility and duty over one’s domain is inherent to that authority and cannot be shirked regardless of circumstances. In a strong patriarchy, when a woman under his domain misbehaves, the responsibility, penalty, and duty to fix it falls on the man.

Do women have agency (weak patriarchy)? Or do they not (strong patriarchy)? Or is patriarchy as an abstract concept fundamentally flawed?[4]

Those who promote a weak patriarchy believe that men who have failed in their authority and responsibility[5] in their own domain should make demands of other men in their own domains, as Dalrock promoted and Sharkly did. This utterly disrespects the patriarchal authority of men that they claim to honor. It is self-refuting. Moreover, this type of manipulation of others—usurping a man’s individual authority[6]—is a decidedly feminine approach.[7]

Suffering and Inversion

In “Unlearning Inversion,” I shared a large citation from Charlton and then commented that most persons’ metaphysical assumptions are inverted and that this must be unlearned.

In my subsequent comment on “Unlearning Inversion”, I noted that most men do not view Christ’s promise of life after death as the cure to their suffering. Now Charlton has posted this revelvant article:

“It has become a commonplace observation that Modern people tend to lose faith when they experience pain, suffering – in a word evil.”

 

“Nowadays in the West it is quite normal for previously devout churchgoing Christians to experience that their faith is At Least strongly challenged by extreme adversity; by personal experience of the evils of this mortal life.”

 

“Yet, there really is very little evidence of this happening in the first 3/4 of Christianity – it is recorded, but exceptional – despite at-least equally great (perhaps greater) human suffering.”

 

“Indeed the opposite was more usual: the assumption that the more humans suffered, the more devoutly Christian they became. “

 

“It was indeed a commonplace that peace, prosperity, and comfort were the main enemies of Christianity.”

The very concept of suffering itself has been inverted. What I and Charlton have noted explains why the manosphere reads 1 Peter and, instead of understanding it as the most direct biblical answer to their marital sufferings, imagines that achieving peace, prosperity, and comfort are of primary importance to Christian and a “sanctifying marriage.” What they read is only marital authority and hierarchy, that is, a solution to their suffering in the here-and-now.

In doing so, they’ve found salvation to be incomplete and unnecessary. It simply isn’t important or relevant.

Modern man does not desire or see a need for salvation.

…and…

Modern man seeks reduced suffering as its highest ideal.

This isn’t a Christian ethic. It is utilitarianism.[8]

When I focused on removing false faith on the Sigma Frame blog, I was told instead to focus on solving the suffering of men. Inherent in that very claim is that removing false faith and replacing it with real faith was not a valid solution to suffering.

This illustrates Charlton’s point precisely. Modern man does not view the promise of salvation and glory as the solution to suffering, for modern man views suffering as an impediment to a properly functioning Christian life; an indication that his walk with Christ is somehow inferior. He cannot understand what 1 Peter is saying because he does not have the mind for it. It is an alien concept that he has rejected.

“Dont have these things? “Oh so sorry, but did you know there is no marriage in heaven! Rejoice in your suffering!!!! This faith doesnt promise you anything! You must have asked for the wrong thing!”” — comment by Lastmod

But Jesus and Peter taught that those who suffer and have less are greater than those who do not.

This discrepancy is most clearly in the manospherian treatment of 1 Peter.

1 Peter

comment by Jack @ Sigma Frame

After Jack @ Sigma Frame wrote this comment, I responded simply:

Yes. Read 1 Peter. It was written specifically for those suffering for the sake of Christ, especially those suffering at the hands of unbelievers (including unbelieving spouses). I’m available to talk privately: just reach out to me at me@derekramsey.com.

My offer is still open to those who want to talk. Those conversations that I’ve had privately have been more rewarding than anything I’ve experienced in the public manosphere. It is the only way I know to actually help men who are suffering, though I don’t have much to offer even there, other than an ear to hear.

But what about Sigma Frame? I examined every article since 2010 that mentioned 1 Peter. I found that of the 31 mentions of 1 Peter in the posts and pages, only once has suffering been the focus. The vast majority of the time the focus is exclusively on 1 Peter 3, the instructions to husbands and wives with special focus on wives. This focus has increased over time, indicating that the feminizing of the blog has increased in recent years.

When I attempted to discuss the whole purpose of 1 Peter, with its focus on suffering and holy living, it was ineffective. Deti responded predictably, focusing on what women should do…

…with the cheerleaders agreeing:

If you look at my blog history, you find that I talk about 1 Peter as a whole quite often. That’s because “Christian patriarchy” doesn’t work as a concept when viewed within the whole context of Peter’s words. “Christian patriarchy,” with its focus on authority and female behavior, is an inversion of Peter’s focus on dealing with suffering and holy living of believers in the midst of unbelievers.

Fixing the Manosphere

There has been much talk about how my own approach has been divisive, even going so far as to call it persecution. This is gaslighting that covers how the Christian manosphere has become increasingly dogmatic, rules-based,  authoritarian. If the early pioneers of the manosphere were its apostles and saints, the current iteration are the successors who are bureaucratizing and canonizing it.

It’s funny how this mirrors the development of tradition in the church, Wikipedia, and every other ideologically captured institution. The people inside it never realize what is happening until it is far too late (if at all).

What will it take for men to view suffering and salvation the way that the writers of the Bible understood them? How much suffering will God himself require of his people before they once again can say:

“…peace, prosperity, and comfort are the main enemies of Christianity.”

It starts by learning to unlearn inversion.

And, perhaps, we could all do with a Jonathan Edwards sermon from time-to-time.

Footnotes

[1] The purpose of a system is what it does (POSIWID): there is “no point in claiming that the purpose of a system is to do what it constantly fails to do.” (link)

[2] Various parts of the manosphere are well-known to chase out or outright ban women commenters. Other places strongly curate their audiences into a well-defined echo-chamber. This is female-coded behavior.

[3] Authority is often defined as the ability to discipline.

[4] In the Old Testament, agency was not determined by one’s sex, but by one’s social status, or preeminence. Virgins and married women had no agency with respect to their fathers and husbands, respectively. Widows had full agency. Similarly, in many ancient patriarchal cultures, the virgins, widows, and prepubescent girls did not have to veil: only married women did to show that they were claimed. Christian patriarchy—rooted in sexism and authority rather than status—isn’t compatible with any of these concepts, and so they are frequently denied. Artisanal Toad drives home this point here:

To give consent requires agency of social status

[5] The Bible forbids those who are divorced from becoming teachers. Why do divorced men—who claim that women should be silent in church and never teach a man—presume to teach? Like virgin women, these men should be silent, learn in subjection, and “ask their husbands at home.”

[6] “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” But it’s okay for men to imitate the female “natural defilers” and usurp the authority of other men!

[7] Christian patriarchy necessarily implies that women are inherently inferior to men because it assumes that all men have a higher moral value—higher utility—than all women. If they were to admit that it was possible for a woman to have a superior collection of attributes—intelligence, kindness, self-control, patience, love, faith, etc.—than her husband, then there would be no moral justification for a woman asking her husband to explain spiritual matters. A woman has to seek spiritual guidance from a man because all men are superior to all women on spiritual matters. If there was even a single exception, Christian patriarchy would collapse.

It is not that men and women are merely unequal, for two unequal things can be merely not comparable in any moral sense: neither equal nor unequal. Christian patriarchy can never admit that the quesiton “Which of a man or woman is superior?” is inherently malformed with no possible answer.

By contrast, feminism implies that women are equal–or superior—to men. Both feminism and Christian patriarchy make the error of blankslatism (in the opposite extreme) and utilitarianism: equating biological (dis)similarity with moral worth. They only differ in their utility function. In this way, patriarchy is just as feminine an approach as feminism.

[8] Blankslatism and ultilitarianism both fundamentally imply leftist and positivist metaphysics.This is, in part, why Bruce Charlton observed that Sigma Frame (and most of the manosphere) are positivist and fundamentally non-Christian. Underlying their very purpose are unacknowledged metaphysical assumptions.

27 Comments

  1. Derek,

    One of my (many) purposes for blogging is to address men’s suffering. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-11. Verse 4 means that those who have suffered from divorce, infidelity, etc. have a duty to minister to others who suffer from the same. This does not discount the value of suffering, nor does it make an attempt to ‘escape’ from suffering. Suffering is already present. The question is how to deal with it. It is clear that you do not share the same sufferings, so you lack the spiritual authority to minister to men who suffer in this way. It doesn’t help anyone to discount this ministry as ‘effeminate’, ‘unmasculine’, or ‘unChristian’. I kindly advise you to stay within your domain of authority. You have not yet written about the Peaceful Unity model of marriage, which is your area of expertise.

    In another comment you said,

    “Men like Tim Keller and Jack @ Sigma Frame believe that all Christian sects should work together, that to say that one is better than another is wrong.”

    No, I don’t believe this. I never said this, and you don’t know what you’re talking about. Ecumenical consolidation will never happen, and if it ever does, it’s evil. What I said (in so many words) is that different faith traditions get some things right, and other things wrong, and that there is something to be had from each one. I never said anything about organizing an ecumenical coalition, only that men might benefit from examining other traditions.

    Elsewhere, you have made light of my statements about persecution. Spiritual violence is contained in the war of belief. You must either believe that the Sigma Frame blog is a force for good, or for evil. Which is it? Up until recently, I have counted you as an ally in the faith and a worthy opponent in debate, but lately, I am not so sure.

    Perhaps it is up to me to believe that you mean well. I will do what I can. God willing.

    [DR: I’ve written four responses here, here, here, and here to deal with each topic individually.]

    1. Derek L. Ramsey

      Jack,

      I appreciate your feedback. I’ve updated my comment.

      I already understood your belief as you stated it here. By “work together,” I did not mean “ecumenical consolidation.” By “to say that one is better than another is wrong”, I meant “different faith traditions get some things right, and other things wrong, and that there is something to be had from each one.”

      Your approach is very similar to Tim Keller’s, whose informal multi-faith alliances led to teaching a false social gospel and whose view on sanctification opposed his denomination’s position.

      Peace,
      DR

    2. Derek L. Ramsey

      Jack,

      “Perhaps it is up to me to believe that you mean well. I will do what I can. God willing.”

      Before you decide to reject me, please read my perspective here. If after that you still believe that I don’t mean well—despite giving my word—then there is likely nothing I say that will convince you otherwise.

      “You must either believe that the Sigma Frame blog is a force for good, or for evil. Which is it? Up until recently, I have counted you as an ally in the faith and a worthy opponent in debate, but lately, I am not so sure.”

      After Deti advocated sin in “An open letter to Christian Wives”, I gathered together witnesses (myself, nellperkins, professorGBFMtm, Bardelys the Magnificent, Sharkly, and later Liz) in accordance with Matthew 18 to establish the word and confront Deti with his sin as a Brother in Christ. You had responsibility to accept the judgment of the congregation or seek confirmation from more witnesses. Since then Deti has been confronted on a number of occasions on multiple forums (including Spawny’s Space) and he has refused to repent, you should have enacted the Christ-required excommunication by—at minimum—purging the sin by deleting his post and any comments which advocated sin. This never happened. Instead, you said this:

      “Even in the case where a husband asks his wife to sin, some commenters clearly do not understand the power of God to transform her faithful submission into something unexpected in which the foreseen sin is averted, just as God did in the case with Abraham and Sarah.”

      “I challenge any wives who may be reading this: If your husband ever asks you to do something that you believe is a sin, do it anyway, and see for yourself if it turns out the way you expected or if God intervenes to prevent you from doing wrong. This requires genuine faith in the Lord.”

      Having failed to follow Christ’s commands and allowing Deti to post there, Sigma Frame has proved itself to be outside Christ’s church. By the Word of Christ, it is not and cannot be Christian. It’s no different than if a pastor was allowed to continue pastoring a church after it was revealed that they were in an illicit relationship and unrepentant. Perhaps in the past Sigma Frame was Christian and in the future it will be, but it is not right now, at least not in a way that can be supported as a matter of conscience.

      I don’t know if we’re allies or enemies, that’s up to you. I’d prefer the former. As always, I will continue to challenge ideas and refrain from personal attacks. Yet, in recent months, various commenters at Sigma Frame have personally attacked me and borne false witness against me. Do you think this is closer to the mark of the neighbor who shows me mercy or an enemy who wishes me ill?

      “Elsewhere, you have made light of my statements about persecution.”

      Because you falsely accused me personally of persecuting your blog, telling no less than five falsehoods (see: footnote 1 here). I mentioned them in this comment at Sigma Frame. Those falsehoods are still there. Moreover, others made light of my statements of persecution, and no one—including you—stood up for me. If you were me, what would you have done in that situation?

      Except for a few comments here and there, by-and-large I’ve chosen to step away until such time as things calm down.

      “I kindly advise you to stay within your domain of authority.”

      When you asked me to move my bulky critiques to my own blog, I (mostly) did just that—writing many detailed posts here—and have gotten nothing but grief since then, including that bogus accusation of “active persecution” (yet another personal attack that falsely assumes my motives). Despite that falsehood remaining on your site, you suddenly want to curate the topics of the posts on my own blog? You have some audacity trying to control what words I speak here, especially after the comments you made earlier:

      “Deti ‘won’ the debate when Derek tried to put words in his mouth without first considering the differences in connotations.”

      This is utterly false. I put no words in anyone’s mouth, and I’m able to prove it conclusively. I made zero quotations of Deti’s viewpoints and my description of those viewpoints used my own paraphrase in a manner and meaning that was completely unambiguous:

      “Peter stresses that all people—men and women—need to be humble and subservient even though doing so results in suffering. Both Peter and Paul use the middle voice precisely because they are not commanding that anyone be subjected.”

      Nobody reading that could possibly think that Deti believes that subservience is forced (i.e. commanded), so no I didn’t put those words in his mouth.

      The reality is that Deti (and you) (1) don’t like that I used “men” and “women” in the exact same way that Paul did; (2) insist that the words I use must be interpreted not as I intended them according to the words I actually used, but as you’d prefer to use them; (3) effectively demand control over what I write on my own blog; and (4) (Deti) expecting an apology for something I didn’t actually do (nevermind people attacking me by calling me a liar and nobody else even objected to it).

      It’s literally attempting to put words in my mouth! Should I demand an apology too?

      Peace,
      DR

      1. Liz

        Lots of debate “winning”.
        After I brought up a son’s suicidal ideation in the face of thinking he would always be alone (among other things I’m sure, but that is what he said), Deti answered with some super smooth Christian game here:

        “Oh, BS, Liz. I don’t believe a teenage boy is thinking about having children. The LAST thing your average 16-18 year old boy is thinking about is being a father. He’s thinking about getting his d!ck wet, cars, and money. Maybe what he wants to do for a living, maybe the training he needs to do that thing for a living. Same in his early 20s.”

        1. Derek L. Ramsey

          Liz,

          Forget teens, at least one of my boys talked about having kids when he was 12, as well as expressing concern about how difficult it is for a man to find a good wife. We’ve even talked (fairly non-seriously) about arranged marriages.

          I was thinking seriously about marriage at least as early as 8th grade, and I’ve discussed it with my own children at much younger ages.

          As I said here, Deti clearly lives in a bubble clouded heavily by his negative experiences and can’t understand how anyone would live life differently than his own “lived experience.” This has obvious parallels to both (1) political progressivism and identity politics; and (2) the manosphere and its general applicability.

          Jack wonders how I can say agree with Charlton about his blog being positivist/leftist, and yet leftists and the manosphere both suffer from the same mindset and modes of thinking.

          Then you have Sharkly who complains that I talk about him in the same sentence as Deti, even though they have very different viewpoints. But it isn’t the viewpoint that makes them comparable, it is the epistemology.

          I find it challenging to express this in a way that effectively communicates, because the retort is always “Your argument is invalid because we believe very different things!” which misses the point completely. Curiously, they never have this problem when they call me a Pharisee.

          Peace,
          DR

        2. Liz

          At the last assignment, our sons were friends with a boy who was always in charge of the neighborhood children. He was a natural father, and we’d “joke” he would probably have 10 children some day. He was 17 then. Now he is married, and at 23 just finished pilot training and his 3rd son was recently born.
          I don’t think the only thing on his mind was money, fast cars, or “getting his penis wet” then. Nor is (or was it ever) that way with our sons. Anyone who lives that way and believes that has my sympathy.

          1. Lastmod

            Frequently wondered as a teen “wonder what my future wife is doing right now?”and then dreams that I was a father in my twenties, well into my forties.

    3. Derek L. Ramsey

      Jack,

      “It doesn’t help anyone to discount this ministry as ‘effeminate’, ‘unmasculine’, or ‘unChristian’.”

      Anything that is true must be helpful, even if it hurts or divides. You can see that Charlton’s description applies to the blog’s content, thus the statement I made is accurate (albeit unpleasant).

      Do you honestly think that spending so much time analyzing what women do is masculine? I don’t think so. It is a distinctly feminine, effeminate, unmasculine thing to do. This is just a simple observation. I’d be surprised if many people find this controversial.

      As for being anti-Christian, leftist positivism is inherently anti-Christian, regardless of intentions. It’s the metaphysical assumptions, not specific behaviors, that make it anti-Christian. I’m aware you don’t agree, but you can’t be surprised by it, having discussed it at length:

      “Is the Σ Frame blog Positivistic, as Charlton says?”

      As I’ve demonstrated in this post, that label applies in the ways that I’ve argued in the OP. If you’d like to challenge any of the claims specifically, feel free. Otherwise I’ll leave them stand as-is. I believe my arguments are logically valid and were presented in good faith.

      Peace,
      DR

      1. professorGBFMtm

        ”Do you honestly think that spending so much time analyzing what women do is masculine? I don’t think so. It is a distinctly feminine, effeminate, unmasculine thing to do. This is just a simple observation. I’d be surprised if many people find this controversial.”

        Tell it brother DEREK!

        i can remember as a teenager ”getting” almost everything the TV show married with children was saying about women without really thinking it through=analyzing in detail like with 2&half MEN so many years later also that i saw as mostly as a rehash of married with children.

        All some guy really needed to do to ”analyze” women was to watch the tv show friends to understand ”modern” women but most MEN were looking at it through the lenz of most women want ”true love” as everyone was suppose to be focused on the rachel and ross stuff instead of what was really going on the screen ,which was have ”random” sex then it’s time to forget that person at least for a little while-same thing with the tv show seinfeld at the time too.

        In other words those tv shows was all one really needed to see to see the patterns of modern men and women.Which is still true except those shows don’t show the obsession with cell phones and social media like they would if made today.

        1. Lastmod

          What started as a funny comedy turned into a weekly drama. “Friends” for all that it did do with embodying GenX into their twenties going into their thirties in an hip area of NYC……it wasnt believable, but “relatable”

          Sure, Monica could afford a very cool apartment while only being temporarily employed as a “chef”. Yeah. Sure. Stuff like that, we knew it wasnt real, but some of the situations were indeed relatable. Funny too.

          Like all sitcoms, near the end of their run…..it got….well, preachy and tired. Everyone wanted (and usually) got a “guest” appearance on the show to try to re-ignite their careers (Tom Sellack for one).

          It was time to move on by 2004. One thing I am thankful for about “Friends” is that they never did a full and “real” reunion episode(s). When the final episode aired in 2004……it was over and it was left to imagination. The head producer mentioned “it reflected GenX perfectly actually, a period of your life indeed comes to an end, and you move on, make new “friends” and your lives do indeed go in different directions. You may or may not stay in touch. This chapter was over. Life went on.”

          I liked how the show matched the fashions perfectly well for back then. Not over the top trendy, but def well done and well made for each character.

          I tuned in weekly, as did millions.

          1. Liz

            There are some shows that “hit the spot” only for a certain generation. **
            Think Friends was one of those (for a short time at least).
            We watched it when it first came out, then after one of our overseas assignments (can’t remember which one), we came back and it was filled with celebrities that seemed to have no reason to be there…and it was no longer funny (canned laughter still in the background was really off putting in the humorless context). Think people held on because they couldn’t accept their favorite show was no longer watchable.

            **A show that did the same for us was Cobra Kai. Mostly likely unwatchable for anyone under 40 but hit the spot for a lot of Gen Xers in a campy, stupidly nostalgic way.

            Sorry for being off topic. Neighbors helped us dig our vehicles out of the driveway with their expert-level snow kit. Good to have friends! Still have to shovel tons of snow. 50 inches total, in about 24 hours. See ya.

            [DR: You can’t really be off-topic here]

          2. Lastmod

            I saw a taping of “Friends” in the fall of 1997 at NBC / Culver City Studios.

            The “studio audience” was small, maybe 50 people. They had a comedian to keep us laughing and in a “good mood” in between takes. A light dinner was provided during the break.

            There was canned laughter used as well, but it was taped in front of a studio audience until the fall 2000 season began. I think it was because the crowd could no longer be kept under control…..and they were constantly jumping on to the set to try to get pictures and selfies and autographs.

            It was a funny show, and it did have its moments (ross in the “leather pants” episode is still one of my favorites)

            I had two friends from grad school who were working for NBC, and when I was down with IBM for that install at Disney, they got me a seat for the taping.

            No, I did not get any autographs. However Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) did come over during breaks and had small talk, took some questions and was very genuine with the audience Though it was interesting to see a half hour sitcom get taped……it took about eight hours for the taping. It was fun. It aired about three months later.

    4. Derek L. Ramsey

      Jack,

      “One of my (many) purposes for blogging is to address men’s suffering. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-11. Verse 4 means that those who have suffered from divorce, infidelity, etc. have a duty to minister to others who suffer from the same.”

      I wrote:

      “…the [Patriarchal] authority that they claim comes from God brings them no joy, no comfort, no rest, no unity.”

      I see despairing men who come looking for help and who only find more hopelessness and despair when they realize that they are helpless to change anything: joyfully subscribing to the theory, but rarely reaping the benefits in actual practice, due to limited power to do anything about it.

      To wit:

      “That requires men to assert authority when they cannot. It’s not men’s fault that women are empowered to sic the state on them.” — comment by Deti

      …and…

      “For me “authority” has enforcement power.” — comment by Sharkly

      Years ago I appreciated the writings of men like Deti and Scott. But then when their circumstances turned negative and their sufferings were kicked up a notch, both seemed to have turned black and the latter deleted his stuff. When suffering increased, comfort decreased.

      All these men saw suffering—rather than themselves—as, primarily, something to be improved upon, and this ultimately failed them. Whatever short-term comfort they had evaporated, because it was the wrong kind of comforting. This reflects what I said in the OP:

      (Charlton) “It was indeed a commonplace that peace, prosperity, and comfort [of the flesh] were the main enemies of Christianity.”

      …and…

      Modern man seeks reduced suffering as its highest ideal.

      …and…

      “Modern man does not desire or see a need for salvation.”

      Here is what I noticed after meditating on 2 Corinthians 1:3-11:

      “…the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we are able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

      …and…

      “But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation”

      The divine comfort—or encouragement—originates from God and is tightly bound to salvation. God is the focus. Paul doesn’t even have to discuss or dwell on the details of the suffering itself, for those details are merely incidental: it’s enough to refer to them obliquely. Nor is there any indication that the suffering itself is alleviated in any way, but affliction itself brings divine comfort! Notably, the comfort Paul received was good for any affliction in others, whether the suffering was the same or not.

      Paul’s personal example—”my weakness”—exemplifies all of the above:

      “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power reaches its fulfillment in weakness.”

      What modern man is seeking this? What Christians are promoting this?

      I promoted it here and it was roundly rejected. This comment by Oscar is especially illustrative of modern man’s highest ideal. In this comment, Deti completely rejected Peter’s motif. You liked his comment, called my teaching “arm chair philosphizing,” and showed that your idea of comfort is a fleshly, feminine feelings-based approach akin to modern therapy, which notably rarely helps men.

      I find it ironic that Sigma Frame promotes a supposed ancient form of Christian patriarchy, but its conceptions of suffering and comfort are distinctly and demonstrably modern.

      The men in the threads above did not understand Peter’s motif of suffering, and so do not understand what Peter was saying about husbands and wives, and so fail to grasp what Peter was teaching them about marriage.

      Chrysostom, a native Greek-speaker writing in the late 4th century, understood 1 Peter 3:

      “[Sarah] also reverenced her husband; for hear her own words, “It has not yet happened unto me even until now, and my lord is old also” (Genesis 18:12). And he again so loved her, that in all things he obeyed her commands.”

      When you read…

      “But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation”

      …you think that means that your afflictions better allow you to empathize with others (which goes unstated here), rather than that the afflictions are literally for—not against—comfort that comes from God. With the decrease in fleshly comfort comes an increase in the divine comfort and salvation of God. The more you suffer on earth, the greater your comfort and salvation—the glory after you die.

      “Blessed are those who have been persecuted because of their righteousness, because the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of me. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, because your reward in heaven is great. For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

      Peter and Paul were echoing Christ: the greater your suffering, the greater your salvation (i.e. from what you are saved from). But your audience doesn’t want to hear that:

      “Modern man does not desire or see a need for salvation.”

      Or put another way:

      “Modern man does not view salvation in the age to come as the solution to suffering in the here-and-now.”

      This is why they are not comforted.

      The Red Pill has essentially failed. It’s key “victory” is that it has been raised to awareness in the general public’s consciousness and discourse, even as it has had minimal to no practical benefit on the ground. It fits right in with the virtue-signalers and awareness clubs in demonstrating that awareness consumes massive amounts of resources for minimal, if not negative, benefit.

      Peace,
      DR

  2. Pingback: The Disadvantage of Authority

  3. Derek L. Ramsey

    See my updated “Links of Interest” for ArchAngel’s, Deti’s, and Feeriker’s perspectives on suffering.

    ————————————————————————-

    Deti says:

    “Elsewhere, I am criticized for, apparently, not “suffering” enough or well.”

    If he is talking about me, I don’t believe I ever said he isn’t suffering enough or suffering well—I scanned my recent posts to make sure—but his viewpoint has a right to be heard.

    I have gone on record that threatening or advocating divorce goes against the Word of God. If this is the criticism that Deti is referring to, then I am guilty as charged.

    ————————————————————————-

    My dual observations…

    Modern man does not desire or see a need for salvation.

    …and..

    Modern man seeks reduced suffering as its highest ideal.

    …are summarized in Bruce Charlton’s observation that the following is no longer the case:

    “It was indeed a commonplace that peace, prosperity, and comfort were the main enemies of Christianity.”

    This was the view of the church for at least the first 1400 years.

    It’s not that men need to suffer or must suffer more, it’s that their view of what suffering and peace/prosperity/comfort means spiritually has changed. One of the church fathers sought martrydom eagerly! How can we Christians understand what Peter was talking about if we don’t understand this?

    Perhaps I will make another post on the topic.

  4. Liz

    There was a base years ago, and Mike was rumored to be the next person in charge of the installation. Everyone thought it was a done deal, but a staff weenie got the job because he had been an assistant to some 4 star at the Pentagon.

    We knew this particular weenie from many many years back.

    He left the military and his farewell speech was essentially “you all are stupid, I’m going to get rich, smell yah later”. He was (objectively) physically very good looking, and his wife very very beautiful. He was going to the majors (can’t remember, most likely somewhere like United because SWA at that time would have had him blacklisted as a known turd merchant). And indeed life was swell until about the 10 year point when he had to beg for a job back with the military. And they took him. Then he rode the desk until he shows up at that base with a very very bad reputation.

    Because I was familiar with this person, I thought I knew what to expect. (No, this is not a personal redemption story, I only wish)

    His speech at the change of command ceremony, however, fooled me.
    He spoke highly of his family, and said how important God is in his life.
    He actually wept.

    I was astounded. I spoke with his family, they were so excited and personable.
    He had several kids (they’d started a lot later in life, so the kids were much younger than ours).

    His first week at the base, rather than learning how things were run…he spent a half day looking around, then told his subordinates everything was terrible and he “needed to teach them how to think”. He had a bunch of tee shirts and bumper stickers made with his personal “3 things” (this was the time of “3-things”, much like “quality” was once a thing and so forth), and told them to wear the shirts and put the stickers on their cars (few complied….as he himself did neither). He demanded that the guards at the front know exactly who leadership was, and not stop to card them when they came on the base. He was, as a leader, essentially the opposite of his “3-thing” list personified (the actual motto: “Love, Care, and Respect”).

    He seemed able to turn on the tears and fake religiosity at will. He would wax poetic about the importance of family for a speech and then turn around and say the exact opposite in private. He was terrible to his wife.

    So, we have a complete tool who treated everyone with distain and talked down to them. With the exception of Mike. He seemed to be intimidated by Mike…though the lowest ranking airman could come to Mike’s office and feel comfortable to talk at almost any time. He would handwrite personal notes not only to the airmen (if and when they accomplished something of distinction, for example) but to their closest family. He actually asked them which people they were closest to and cared about (because so many folks in the military come from tragic backgrounds…often their mentors and the people who raised them are not immediate family). When he left the base, he wrote about 100 personal thank you cards. That’s who he is. At the last assignment we were sitting at the club saying farewell, and an airman came over and bought us a beer and shook his hand and said he had “saved his family”. Simply by running the base efficiently and caring about the actual people, not having some slogan pretending he cared.

    Anyway…to summarize the point of that long anecdote, I’m absolutely certain “love, care, and respect” guy believed he was subject to intense persecution and suffering, and it all had nothing to do with his own conduct. By contrast, Mike has never complained about getting a bad deal, or not getting credit. He just tries to do the right thing and cares about people. Much like my Dad he is just that kind of person.

    1. Liz

      There are definitely people with better and worse deals in life.
      A lot of people have done a lot of suffering and do not deserve it.
      There are also people who bring bad deals upon themselves.
      We have been very very blessed and fortunate in life, but I am grateful for the (comparatively rare) times of suffering, because I would not be where I am if I hadn’t “suffered” a little.

      I looked at your website first, Derek, for the writeup on Tibial Hemimelia. I had never heard of it, but when I was 11 I had a very bad compound fracture. My leg was messed up to the point the bone was kind of like potato chips in there (all flopped over, mom passed out in the car trying to hold the pieces together). They called the specialist who was on call, and he came to the ER and decided not to operate but just set it with a cast. Dad has always said he thinks the doctor was inebriated and afraid to operate, which in retrospect is likely correct.
      Anyway, it took a very long time to heal obviously…many months in different casts and at the end my right leg was almost 2 inches shorter than the left. A few years later there was an experimental leg lengthening procedure available (to young people…I was a teen then, they did not try it on anyone over 18). It was successful and I am grateful to have two legs the same length now. The right one was never quite right (probably spent about 2 years total in wheel chairs/bed and so forth in my life due to that injury from one reason or another).
      Anyway, I am very blessed and fortunate, and I am aware of it.
      I was aware of it even then, but I didn’t know the path of my life would be set on course in large part due to that experience (and timing). Sometimes blessing come out of misfortune.

      1. Derek L. Ramsey

        “A few years later there was an experimental leg lengthening procedure available [..] The right one was never quite right (probably spent about 2 years total in wheel chairs/bed and so forth in my life due to that injury from one reason or another).”

        My daughter has spent about a year of her life in an external fixator, including from one limb lengthening. I can’t really estimate how much time has been spent in a wheelchair or on crutches, but it’s been plenty. And she’s had so many surgeries that I’ve lost count.

        My other daughter has a limb difference that is handled by shoe lifts.

        Maybe one day I’ll post pictures again, but I may wait until they are adults. Things can get pretty ugly out there.

    2. Derek L. Ramsey

      “to summarize the point of that long anecdote, I’m absolutely certain “love, care, and respect” guy believed he was subject to intense persecution and suffering, and it all had nothing to do with his own conduct. By contrast, Mike has never complained about getting a bad deal, or not getting credit. He just tries to do the right thing and cares about people. Much like my Dad he is just that kind of person.”

      Your anecdote nicely illustrates what I wrote in my latest post: “The Disadvantage of Authority.” I almost thought for a second that this comment was under that post and not this one.

  5. Pingback: Links of Interest

  6. Liz

    We’ve had issues with Mike’s parents for a long while.
    His Dad was brilliant, but became increasingly depressed and despondent as he aged.
    Instead of focusing on things he could control, or the good things in his life (which he had in abundance, though he could not see it), he basically went insane until he couldn’t take it anymore and shot himself.
    Mike has been on disability for over a year now, and he is keenly aware of the risk when one spends too much time looking into the abyss. We discussed it this morning in fact.
    He has been in limbo due to the neck surgery (C2-T1 fusions/bone grafts) and he needs the ablation for SVT. The limbo being, we don’t know if he will ever be able to go back to work, so in the meantime it becomes difficult to plan our life around unknowns.
    His convalescence has been a blessing in many ways (a lot of freedom to visit the kids, for instance…and without the heart condition we would not have found out he needed neck surgery which was very dire and probably would have not only ended his flying career, but his time on this earth as a person who can move both arms and legs, we are very grateful).
    At any rate, we decided this morning to proceed as though he will be going back either the end of this year or early next. If it happens, great…if not, we haven’t put our lives on hold for an unknown.

  7. Pingback: Putting Words In My Mouth

  8. Derek,

    You have said that men talking about their problems with women is effeminate, but it is better than avoiding the topic or remaining silent, which is more effeminate. Furthermore, you cannot assert moral superiority by ridiculing those who are dealing with such problems, which is contempt, and then deny that you are contributing to their sufferings.

    You’ve made the mistake of assuming that all suffering is redemptive. It is not. Some kinds of suffering are redemptive, but other kinds of suffering are indicative of a bondage to sin and a perpetuation thereof. If we can help men make the shift from the latter to the former, then we are doing something for the Kingdom. This is the work of evangelism. For example, it is not right to instruct men to suffer patiently under feminism and seek ‘peace and unity’. It would be better, rather, to remove its influence as much as possible. ‘Male authority’ and ‘Christian Patriarchy’ have been suggested as ways to do this. If you do not like these methods, then how else do you propose this should be done?

    1. Derek L. Ramsey

      Jack,

      “You have said that men talking about their problems with women is effeminate, but it is better than avoiding the topic or remaining silent, which is more effeminate.”

      Men talking about women is effeminate, because it is highly characteristic of women. What greater criteria for effeminacy could you want?

      This isn’t a man dealing with his personal family situation, a man talking about himself. It is the manosphere concerning itself with women (and men) outside their patriarchal domain (or ministers ministering outside the patriarchal domain of those ministered to). This is undeniably feminine behavior.

      It is not hard to discuss these topics without talking about women.

      On this blog, I discuss ideas, which is why ad hominems are absent. When I discuss people specifically, it is usually other men. This makes people very unhappy! Apparently, others think it would be better if I spent more time talking about women instead of hurting men.

      A large portion of my articles here are theological, scientific, topical, or intellectual in nature. Women themselves are not a prime focus of this blog, as shown by these topics.

      When I talk about feminists here, I talk about how feminism is built upon lies. It’s not even about the woman being featured. Women’s behavior doesn’t matter. It’s basically a fact check, highlighting citation fraud, intellectual dishonesty, fake role models, and bias.

      In this classic article, I discuss how feminism impacts boys and girls in schools. Again I’m focused on cognitive dissonance, intellectual dishonesty, and outright falsehoods.

      In this article, I discuss feminism without mentioning women.

      In my ironically named “Talking about Old Women,” I noted that while the Bible talks about women, it spends very little time singling out “female behavior.” It simply isn’t a very important topic.

      If I deleted my articles that mainly discuss women (the people, not concepts like feminism), it would have a minimal impact on the site itself. Very little of value would be lost. Can any manosphere site say that?

      ————————————————————————–

      “you cannot assert moral superiority by ridiculing those who are dealing with such problems, which is contempt, and then deny that you are contributing to their sufferings.”

      It is a good thing, then, that I do not assert moral superiority, although it is a very popular thing for people who disagree with my ideas—and cannot refute them—to impute that claim upon me.

      I point out that average men—like men in my church—have much to offer spiritually. If you don’t believe me, ask Jason, who has been a sort of spiritual advisor for years. He gives me more spiritual guidance than most. Why? Because the least among us is our leader, as it has been since Christ washed his disciple’s feet.

      I’m also do not ridicule another man for his problems. Ask Jason, because he’s an easy target that many other men have taken shots at. Or ask Sharkly: it would have been easy to take cheap shots at him in our recent debates, but I’m not that kind of person. I’m genuinely saddened by the struggles that men like Scott, Deti, Jason, Sharkly, and others have experienced.

      “You’ve made the mistake of assuming that all suffering is redemptive. “

      Absolutely not. I have never once stated that. The only suffering that was redemptive was Christ’s suffering. No mere human suffering has ever redeemed even a single sin.

      ————————————————————————–

      “it is not right to instruct men to suffer patiently under feminism and seek ‘peace and unity’. [..] It would be better, rather, to remove its influence as much as possible.”

      What I said in “Fighting Evil or Doing Good?” is better than the explanation that follows.

      Peter tells Christian women who are married to their non-Christian husbands to suffer patiently. I understand that you have no problem with this, and the Christian manosphere harps on this requirement constantly.

      Peter tells Christian men who are married to their non-Christian wives to suffer patiently. I understand that you dislike this requirement, and so teach a different message.

      The problem you have with me cannot be teaching “peace and unity,” because Paul himself taught that—here in Romans 12:17-21—in the context of suffering. My teaching is unremarkable.

      It would be better if feminism had no influence—that evil was defeated forever—but no sin can be removed without salvation in Christ. It is not our job to remove sin, but to lead sinners to salvation by sharing the gospel.

      There is no continuum or spectrum between good (qualitative) and evil (quantitative), and they are not opposites, nor together are they a zero-sum game.

      The opposite of faith is not evil, but unbelief. You cannot increase your faith by displacing evil. You cannot increase your faith by performing good works. The presence of evil is a joyful opportunity to suffer and do good for Christ. Do good out of your heart regardless of the presence of evil.

      Our purpose on earth is not to remove suffering. The earth is Satan’s domain, and God has given him dominion over the earth. You cannot stop Satan’s God-permitted work. Jesus himself told us not to resist an evil person, something that is very hard to do. Paul and Peter both repeated the command in their letters. Even though it has been repeated in triplicate, this isn’t a common Christian teaching (except among Anabaptists).

      The purpose of suffering on earth is so that we can choose to contrast it with good, not to stop it. In other words, doing good positively in and of itself, not merely stopping the negative. In politics, stopping the negative has led to all manner of evil, misguided solutions.

      We have no response to evil other than to endure it and respond with good. But, we were commanded to do good anyway! Doing good is not a reaction to evil, but rather an outward expression of the inward state of the heart. The quality of one’s heart determines what one does.

      The solution to physical suffering is to die and be resurrected with Christ.

      In general, prosperity and comfort leads to the abandonment of Christ. Why should any Christian actively push for this? If God permits it, great, but to seek it out as a cause all its own?

      “It would be better, rather, to remove its influence as much as possible. ‘Male authority’ and ‘Christian Patriarchy’ have been suggested as ways to do this. If you do not like these methods, then how else do you propose this should be done?”

      It’s not about the methods. Male authority and Christian patriarchy don’t work because they assume that something should be done. To wit:

      “Modern man does not desire or see a need for salvation. Modern man seeks reduced suffering as its highest ideal.”

      How many times must I say this before it becomes clear? It isn’t hard to understand, but it is hard to accept.

      Sin cannot be removed without salvation. If you want to stop feminism, the eternal souls of feminists must be saved through faith in Christ. You can’t stop feminism by stopping feminists from being feminists, because no human can prevent sin. Authority cannot stop sin, it is utterly powerless against it.

      The things you suggest don’t even begin to address the underlying issue.

      Just ask yourself if you are comfortable offering eternal salvation in Christ to a man in response—and as a complete solution—to his suffering in his marriage? If not, it is because most men do not want salvation. You can see the complete antithesis of this here:

      By contrast, the Word of God says this:

      “1 Peter 3:9,17 (REV) “Do not repay evil for evil, or insult for insult, but on the contrary, give a blessing, for to this you were called, so that you inherit a blessing.” [..] “For it is better to suffer for doing what is good, if the will of God should will it, than for doing evil.”

      Doing good is not transactional. The opportunity to do good does not depend on the amount or nature of evil around you or how much you can eliminate.

      A husband who, by “guiding his wife”, tries to incrementally achieve in her “a deeper faith in God” to combat her evil “drive to usurp control” is trying to fix evil. These actions cannot succeed. Only acts which lead to transformational repentance can be effective.

      Peace,
      DR

      1. Lastmod

        I would prefer that I am not referred to as a “spiritual advisor” or have “deep biblical knowledge” because I dont.

        I am and have been in the “spiritual wilderness” now all my life. Every time I stumble upon something I read or have read….in the Bible.

        I am “wrong” and it means this or that. Also the classic smears since 2012 “blinded by blue-pill thinking / a cuck / bitter / miserable”

        I have been attacked and put upon for my manhood because I am not naturally handsome like some. Because I cannot bench a house and I dont have a “real man'” job like being a an oil rig worker or being the “Witchata Lineman” nor did I get IOIs from the third grade on.

        Even when I was “practicing” in a church. Wasnt a man because I wasnt a father. Wasnt a man casuse I wasnt married. Wasnt a real man because I didnt have “deep theological insights” and not a real man because I could not tithe or donate to build the new “youth wing” for the church. I also didnt have the Ego the size of God Himself to force myself upon the flock.

        The most tiring thing in the end, that did cause anger and intense frustration was not being able to graps “the bible” or the teachings of Jesus like a post graduate theological student.

        Contrast to what I read in the Bible of very simple sayings, teachings and truths that Jesus said. The crowds of long ago that followed Jesus, lined the streets as he rode in Jerusalem……the people gathered to hear John the Baptist along the Jordon were not all “deeply learned men” and all were not in academia or worked for the temple as administrators.

        Jesus was a carpenter. Many of the twelve were fishermen. Hardly a “doctoral” thesis of an education to do that work. Women came too to hear.

        Add to this was the pie about women. Non stop talking about women. If you are indeed a man “of God” and you “do as you please” and “follow Him only” you could give two shakes about what women think.

        It just got so confusing, muddled, and became a religion in itself.

        The red pill pages are better off without me, and as for MGTOW and the like Incel forums…….again:

        All that has to be said HAS been said. Take it or leave it.

        I know I’m going to hell because I was never baptized, nor do I partake in the Lords Supper. Nor do I pray to this saint on this day or that day and have a “feast” to celebrate which martyr of Mary, or the eight holy sisters from Phillipi…..

        All I have is that since I got sober: my yes means yes and my no means no. I promised “the big guy upstairs” that I would never drink and drug again. I repented. Finished 12 step. Joined a church (yes, yes…it was the wrong one, should have moved next door to Oscar and joined his church and then to have him run me out because I didnt repent from being born….)

        All of this was just dressing. I still felt sad. Anger. Shame. The only thing that helped me was “who needs them” because in the end it is You and Jesus.

        The other trappings and traditions are nice for others with something to live for. Men like me…….we had to endure “but in heaven, there is no marriage! But we’ll worship it and the sex act in front of you until you breathe your last, remind you that you’re a “lesser man” and then shame you for wanting it and “not waiting on God”

        And you expect men to “come to church and find Jesus”

        Clueless. That is most “christian real men today”

        Yes. Clueless.

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